The victorious Christian life then is one of perspective, preparation, and perseverance, “always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord [our] labor is not in vain” (15:58). Ask yourself, how could our work be in vain knowing that we are not yet what we will be? How could our work be in vain knowing that our inheritance is not confined to the temporal vaults of this present darkness but is the very kingdom of God? For, a life lived unto the Lord is never in vain but a life of triumph, because God gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus summarized the Decalogue simply: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And…You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matt. 22:37-39). It is a brilliant, comprehensive yet succinct understanding of God’s Moral Law. It is also clear in its inclusion: God, my neighbor, and me. Of course, only the fool questions who God is (Ps. 14:1), and I know who I am, but who is my neighbor? Is my neighbor my friend but not my enemy? Is my neighbor my social or political tribe but not yours? Is my neighbor those I like but not those I dislike or those who dislike me? Who is my neighbor?
There is never a moment too late for the One who created time. There is always purpose in his delay, as Jesus reveals at Lazarus’ tomb, explaining to Martha, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” (John 11:39). As John Piper puts it, “God’s interest is to magnify the fullness of His glory by spilling over in mercy to us.” And so, Jesus lifts his eyes heavenward praying, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I know that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me” (John 11:41-42). And then, he who is the Life cried out, “Lazarus, come forth,” (John 11:43, KJV), and Lazarus did indeed come forth, alive and well.
In Christ, paradise lost becomes paradise regained. And in Christ’s final act of subordination, he will submit the kingdom to God, that God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit may be “all in all.” As Calvin summarizes, “all things will be brought back to God, as their beginning and end.”